Back-to-School Digital Safety Tips

Sept. 8, 2023

The slight chill in the air that we are feeling in the evenings and early mornings can only mean one thing – back-to-school season is upon us! 

This time of year brings with it new feelings and experiences for kids and parents/caregivers alike, including the return of a more stable daily schedule (no more sleeping in and afternoon swims), a time to return to learning, books and homework, and for some, it can mean increased exposure to technology and the internet. 

During the first week back at school, many parents and caregivers will receive a form from their child’s teacher that encourages them to review digital safety and responsible behaviours online with them. This is an excellent reminder of the potential risks and what parents can do to support their children in being safe online. 

Technology is an integral part of our lives and parents and caregivers play a vital role in helping children understand how to navigate technology safely and enjoy the many opportunities for learning, socializing and entertainment offered online. 

No matter your child’s age,  there are tips you can follow to help them thrive online this school year.

Top 3 Cyber Smart Tips for Young Children

1. Create an open and empowering dialogue

Prioritize open and ongoing conversations with your child about technology. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable discussing their online experiences, questions, ideas and concerns. Encourage them to share any discomfort or confusing situations they encounter online. Avoid approaching this conversation with fear, and instead approach it with curiosity.

2. Set boundaries

Establish rules for screen time and device usage. Encourage a balanced routine that includes outdoor activities, face-to-face interactions and other offline hobbies, alongside their digital use. Setting limits not only helps to prevent overexposure to screens but also promotes a well-rounded lifestyle. Collaboratively decide on appropriate schedules for using technology, ensuring that it doesn’t interfere with sleep, physical activity or in-person social interactions.

3. Encourage cyber safety

Educate your child about the importance of online safety and responsible digital behaviour. Teach them to protect their personal information, avoid sharing sensitive details about themselves, and recognize potential online threats. Guide them in treating others with kindness and respect in digital spaces, just as they would in real life. Encourage critical thinking by discussing how to evaluate information found online and emphasize the value of trustworthy sources.

Top 3 Cyber Smart Tips for Tweens

1. Promote digital citizenship

Prioritize teaching your tween (child aged 9-12) about the concept of digital citizenship. Explain the responsibilities that come with using technology, such as respecting others’ online privacy, practicing empathy in online interactions and understanding the potential consequences of their online actions. Encourage them to be thoughtful and kind contributors to digital communities.

2. Encourage critical thinking

Teach your tween to think critically, enabling them to evaluate online information effectively. Guide them on how to distinguish between credible and unreliable sources, spot misinformation or fake news, and question the accuracy of what they encounter online. Encourage them to verify information before sharing or believing it, helping them develop a strong foundation in media literacy

3. Protect their privacy

Teach your child to safeguard personal information online. Discuss the importance of strong, unique passwords and using privacy settings. Emphasize the potential risks of sharing sensitive information.

Top 3 Cyber Smart Tips for Teens

1. Help your teen create a healthy balance

Help your teenager understand the importance of setting healthy boundaries for technology use. Discuss the potential consequences of excessive screen time, such as sleep disruption and reduced focus on schoolwork. Encourage designated “tech-free” times, such as during meals and before bedtime to foster face-to-face interactions and promote overall well-being, while also acknowledging how much they enjoy being online. It’s not about taking anything away from them, but rather, helping them find a balance between the online and offline world. 

2. Encourage critical thinking and respectful behaviour

Although your teen has probably been online for years, understanding what is real and what is not online can be tricky. Foster critical thinking skills in your teenager to help them navigate the digital world effectively. Encourage them to question information they encounter online, recognize potential biases and evaluate the credibility of sources. Discuss the impact of their online behaviour on themselves and others, emphasizing the importance of respectful and empathetic communication.

3. Discuss online reputation

Teach your teenagers about the permanence of their online actions. Discuss the significance of their digital footprint, how their online behaviour can impact their future and the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation. Encourage them to think before they post, avoiding content that might harm their personal or professional life.

Empower Your Kids to Enjoy Technology Responsibly and Safely

Once your children are aware of cyber risks and understand how to navigate the online environment safely and with respect, encourage them to enjoy technology. Additionally, find ways to engage in technology with them. Talk to them about how they are currently using technology and new applications they want to discover. Technology is constantly evolving and your children will be quick to embrace it, so it’s best to go on this journey with them!

Most importantly, no matter what age your child is, encourage them to come to you for help if something happens online that they are concerned about or struggling with. Create safety for your child to seek out your support if they need it, no matter what they are experiencing.


Are you looking for activities and resources to get started? Check out our learning hub and choose “Resources for Parents/Guardians”.  You’ll find online safety resources, computer science activities and introductions to AI, among many others. 

Below are a few examples of what you will find:

  • Wizer Kids Internet Safety Training
  • ScratchJr (coding activity)
  • TensorFlow Playground (create AI applications)
  • Threat Busters (Cisco)
  • Game of Hacks (application hacking skills)

If you are interested in learning more about how to empower your children to be safe and responsible online – stay tuned! We’ll be sharing great resources on our blog this October as part of our Cybersecurity Awareness Month content.